US charges Russian nationals over Evil Corp hacking attacks

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One Russian national is accused of carrying out attacks on behalf of the Russian state

US authorities have filed charges against two Russian nationals alleged to be running a global cyber theft operation named Evil Corp.

An indictment named Maksim Yakubets and and Igor Turashev – both thought to be in Russia – as figures in a group which used malware to steal “billions of dollars” across 40 countries.

Those affected by the hacks include schools and religious organisations.

It is also alleged that Mr Yakubets worked for Russian intelligence.

Speaking at a news conference, Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said the attacks were among “the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade”.

Mr Yakubets is accused of leading Moscow-based Evil Corp, while Mr Turashev allegedly acted as an administrator.

US authorities allege that the group used Bugat malware – known as Dridex – to steal banking information from infected computers.

The malware was traditionally spread via email with so-called “phishing” campaigns, which encouraged victims to click on malicious web links.

In a separate statement, the US Treasury alleged that, since 2017, Mr Yakubets worked on projects for the Russian state, including the theft of confidential documents and “cyber-enabled operations”.

The department said it had rolled out sanctions against 17 individuals and seven “entities,” including businesses associated with a member of the group.

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